Cotton Still King in Uzbekistan Despite a Legacy of Salt

Far less money is spent now on maintaining the vast networks of water drainage and irrigation that crisscross the country than was expended under communism. The authorities spend about $12 a hectare on maintenance, down from $120 a hectare in Soviet times, according to the International Water Management Institute. Blocked drainage pipes push salt levels up, damaging the land and dragging crop yields ever lower.

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